The Paul McCartney Project

The End of the End

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Memory Almost Full Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2007

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


Related interviews


Interview with Word magazine

January 2008 • From Word magazine


What can I say...

July 2007 • From Clash


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Song facts

The End Of The End” is a song from Paul McCartney’s 2007 album, “Memory Almost Full“.

I’d read something somebody had written about dying and I thought, ‘That’s brave.’ It seemed courageous to deal with the subject rather than just shy away from it. So I fancied looking at it as a subject myself. I like the Irish approach of a wake, where it’s celebratory. I remember once an Irish woman wished me well by saying, ‘I wish you a good death’, and I said, ‘Say what?’ I thought about it later and actually it’s a great thing to wish someone. I thought, ‘Well, what would I like?’ Jokes, a wake, music, rather than everyone sitting around looking glum, saying, ‘He was a great guy’ – though they can do a bit of that, too. So that led into the verse, ‘On the day that I die I’d like jokes to be told and stories of old to be rolled out like carpets.’ I have played it to my family and they find it very moving because, you know, it’s Dad. It’s a strange combination, because you’re talking about a serious subject. But I’m dealing with it lightly.

Paul McCartney – interview with Mail On Sunday, May 12, 2008

Interview with David Khane, from Mix Online, October 1, 2007:

“End of the End”: McCartney sings about what he’d like to see one day at his funeral. He is playing the “Mrs. Mills piano,” as it is known at Abbey Road — the same one used on “Lady Madonna” 35 years earlier. “He did quite a few takes, and he was wearing headphones,” Kahne says, “when he suddenly realized, ‘Oh, wait, I don’t need to wear headphones,’ because he was singing and playing live. So he took them off, and then it had a different sort of feel to it.” The song also features a double quartet of strings.

Producer David Kahne about “The End of the End”:

On “End of the End,” Paul was singing and playing live, and he had on headphones. After a few takes, he stopped and said he didn’t need the headphones since he was just singing and playing, so he took them off and was sitting in the middle of the room at Abbey Road 2 playing and singing his song, as bare and purely musical as could be. About three takes later, he did the take you hear on the album. The high part at the end was so pure, like a blimp hanging in the air indefinitely. I was holding my breath as he finished, wondering if it was all going to fall apart because it was so delicate, but it stood up like iron. He came upstairs and we listened, and it was done. Boom, just like that. A lifetime in a moment.

David Kahne – from interview with Claudio Dirani, June 2007

I think this new album is honest. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t mean to be dishonest in any of the others, it’s just that, I dunno, maybe it’s just come out this way this time. I suppose writing a song about death – there’s a song called ‘The End Of The End’, which is just about “On the day that I die I’d like jokes to be told” – well, that’s pretty honest. It just happened that the subjects I chose were like that. Whereas in other times I might be choosing a subject like, um, ‘When I’m 64’ or something, which is much more tongue in cheek.

Paul McCartney – from interview with CLASH magazine, July 2007

From The End Of The End by Paul McCartney – Songfacts :

This is Paul McCartney’s song about how he wants to be remembered after he dies. He was inspired by George Harrison. Paul and Ringo visited George in Los Angeles weeks before his death and were amazed that during the entire visit, despite being in great pain and facing death, George was upbeat, told jokes and recalled stories about their early days in the Beatles. Paul said that is how he would want to be remembered, with “jokes to be told and stories of old.”

From The End Of The End by Paul McCartney – Songfacts :

In an interview with Word magazine January 2008, McCartney was asked about this song, and if he’s thinking more about mortality. The 65-year-old former Beatle replied; “I heard someone – I think it was James Taylor – say in a lyric “the day I die,” and it prompted me to think of my death as a subject. So I got into that and found that I was interested in the Irish Wake idea, and jokes being told and stories of old, rather than the solemn, Anglican, doom-laden event. But it’s not a subject that anyone visits that much. It’s not too jolly, I suppose. It doesn’t make a great song to dance to.”

Last updated on January 18, 2021

Lyrics

At the end of the end
It's the start of a journey
To a much better place
And this wasn't bad
So a much better place
Would have to be special
No need to be sad

On the day that I die
I'd like jokes to be told
And stories of old
To be rolled out like carpets
That children have played on
And laid on while listening
To stories of old

At the end of the end
It's the start of a journey
To a much better place
And a much better place
Would have to be special
No reason to cry

On the day that I die
I'd like bells to be rung
And songs that were sung
To be hung out like blankets
That lovers have played on
And laid on while listening
To songs that were sung

At the end of the end
It's the start of a journey
To a much better place
And a much better place
Would have to be special
No reason to cry
No need to be sad

At the end of the end

Officially appears on


Memory Almost Full

Official album • Released in 2007

2:57 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals
David Kahne :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Andy Wallace :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
End of February 2004
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Memory Almost Full - 2CD limited edition bonus disc

Official album • Released in 2007

2:57 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals

Bootlegs


Memory Almost Full - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

2:57 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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